In 2012, a resounding amount of information from research surrounding the arts in Houston was released through three different studies, illuminating the intersection of Houston's creative industries, nonprofit arts, and quality of life issues.
The Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, under the leadership of Co-Director Stephen Klineberg, conducted the first-ever Houston Arts Survey. That survey revealed that 73% of all respondents asserted that the arts contribute significantly to their quality of life. This appreciation extends across the city's diverse populations, with the vast majority of respondents supportive of continued and, in fact, enhanced public funding of the arts and arts education.
These findings aligned with Houston Arts Alliance's economic impact studies, providing further compelling evidence of the strength of the arts in Houston. HAA released the economic impact of nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences in Houston/Harris County as part of Americans for the Arts’ national Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study. Our local nonprofit arts industry generates $869 million in total economic activity annually and supports the full-time equivalent of 19,651 jobs. Conducted every five years, this 2010 study showed a 39% increase in Harris County over 2005.
Following the 10-county footprint of the Greater Houston Partnership, HAA together with the University of Houstonmeasured The Creative Economy of Houston for the first time. This diverse and broad-based collection of for-profit industry sectors such as film, design and architecture as well as the non-profit arts employ 146,000 individuals with a $9.1 billion economic impact annually.
Taken together, all three studies support Houstonians’ active participation in the arts, our willingness to support the arts, and the great growth potential for creative services and products. Even coming out of the Great Recession, Houston's arts have proven not only resilient but also set for sustained growth. This data informs public policy, education, tourism and business leaders about the benefits of the arts and creative economies.